Home > Oz Politics > Me too, too

Me too, too

November 12th, 2007

I just got the edited highlights of Howard’s policy launch, but the commentary confirmed my impression that the main initiatives (tax-favoured savings accounts for homebuyers, rebates for parents of school students, money for childcare centres) were ripoffs of policies announced by Rudd earlier in the campaign. This kind of “me too, too, only more so” approach seems to be tactically and politically silly for a lot of reasons.

1. These policies didn’t exactly set the electorate ablaze with enthusiasm when Rudd announced them

2. The government’s version is more expensive in each case, but it’s hard to believe at this stage in the campaign that many voters are doing careful calculations of the hip-pocket impact of each new policy

3. “Me too” makes some kind of sense for Rudd – he’s way ahead and just has to avoid scaring the horses to win. Conversely, Howard needs to shake things up by announcing something Rudd can’t possibly match, say (I hope), cash rewards for anyone denouncing foreigners they suspect of being “illegals”

4. One of the government’s best remaining lines is to pin the “me too” label on Rudd, so the last thing they want to do is take it for themselves

5. Rudd gets to move last, so he can now announce something different, probably on climate change, that the government can’t credibly match, leaving them with the worst of all possible worlds

6. Deliberately left blank for you to fill in

7. I’m pretty much a politics junkie and I’m bored witless by the campaign. I just want Nov 24 to come so I can vote these guys out. I’m even more bored now, and less willing to listen to anything. I imagine lots of other voters feel the same.

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  1. jack strocchi
    November 12th, 2007 at 21:13 | #1

    Pr Q says:

    Howard needs to shake things up by announcing something Rudd can’t possibly match, say (I hope), cash rewards for anyone denouncing foreigners they suspect of being “illegalsâ€?…I just want Nov 24 to come so I can vote these guys out.

    Excuse me if do not split my sides laughing. Snarks only draw blood if the bear more than a glancing relation to the truth.

    Under Howard’s immigration policy the AUS populus are more accepting of unpecedented levels of legal NESB immigration than at any other time in AUS history.

    The illegal people smuggling trade has been stopped with consequent saving of hundreds of lives of people who drowned making the hazardous passage.

    NOt that “inconvenient truths” that dont fit the standard liberal-Left demonology make any difference to a chronic, apparently incurable, case of Howard-hatred.

  2. SJ
    November 12th, 2007 at 21:14 | #2

    There is no rule six.

  3. jquiggin
    November 12th, 2007 at 21:18 | #3

    Give it a break Jack. The same Australians who have become more tolerant are the ones who are going to throw Howard out in two weeks time.

  4. November 12th, 2007 at 21:26 | #4

    Rudd also gets the chance to shower some cash on koalas leaving Howard supporting foreign orangutans.

    Downer getting rapturous applause can’t be something that happens often either. Wouldn’t it have been better to have glossed over major embarrassments like all the ministers?

  5. SJ
    November 12th, 2007 at 21:35 | #5

    Correction: I should have said “There is no rule six, ebrius ergo sum”.

  6. jack strocchi
    November 12th, 2007 at 22:25 | #6

    jquiggin Says: November 12th, 2007 at 9:18 pm

    Give it a break Jack. The same Australians who have become more tolerant are the ones who are going to throw Howard out in two weeks time.

    Get real Pr Q. These would be the same Australians who will vote in “me-too” (socially conservative, border protecting) mini-me Rudd. Rudd knows that it would be electoral suicide to seek a walk on part in a remake of the liberal-Leftist follies.

    A bit of argy-bargy from Andrews does not amount to a hill of beans one way or another. And it was Howard who destroyed Hanson as a political force, expelling her from the L/NP and then having her jailed.

    Thanks to Howard AUS is far more tolerant and liberal place than it would have been under the Wets. THeir road was leading us straight down the path already trod by the USE and USA. Cultural segregation and far-right political movements.

    HOward’s neo-conservative tolerance is extended to incoming aliens – black, white or brindle – who play by the rules and fit in. Selecting immigrants on economic, rather than ethnic, criteria leads to better settled immigrants and popular acceptance of ethnics.

    This is effective tolerance is an order of magnitude more important, both morally and politically, than inconveniencing a relatively small number of legitimate refugees.

    Howard’s policy legacy is the conservative welfare state, an integrationist ethnic settlement and the restoration of AUS-INDON foreign relationship. These achievements have reduced AUS xenophobia both at home and abroad. Much more than yet another bout of finger-wagging from the Burnsides and Adamses of this world.

    Howard’s political legacy is Rudd, the most conservatve ALP leader in modern memory.

  7. Anthony
    November 12th, 2007 at 23:37 | #7

    “I just want Nov 24 to come”

    Same here… and I like politics.

  8. Sam
    November 12th, 2007 at 23:56 | #8

    Come on Jack you don’t actually intend to argue that Rudd is similarly socially conservative as Howard? I know Rudd and any such conjecture is complete tripe. Calling Rudd socially conservative in a similar vein to Howard is like calling Howard a Liberal.

    I also think that it might be a touch rich to claim that the bloke that has presided over the Cronulla riots, dog whistle politics relating to Asians, Muslims and Africans, neglect of reconciliation between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Australians etc etc etc could possibly have had a net positive impact on inter-cultural relations in this country.

    Wake up, you re dreaming!

  9. silkworm
    November 13th, 2007 at 00:24 | #9

    Jack does not respond to reason. He only responds to dog whistles from his master.

  10. November 13th, 2007 at 02:38 | #10

    Howard needs to shake things up by announcing something Rudd can’t possibly match, say (I hope), cash rewards for anyone denouncing foreigners they suspect of being “illegals�…I just want Nov 24 to come so I can vote these guys out.

    I am starting to think this JQ ain’t exactly the sharpest tack in the box.

  11. November 13th, 2007 at 02:40 | #11

    There are lots of reasons to vote out JH, but sprouting bulldust over illegal immigration ain’t one of them.

  12. al loomis
    November 13th, 2007 at 05:34 | #12

    Deleted – please read the comments policy

  13. 2 tanners
    November 13th, 2007 at 08:02 | #13

    I actually enjoyed the illegals comment – I snickered at the ’1984′ meets ‘incentivation’ policy scenario.

    But I’m advantaged. I’m overseas, I have my passport in my pocket and in one hour, I’m going out to the local Oz representatives to cast my vote and be done with it.

    As for tolerance, my take is that Howard killed Hanson by stealing her policies and allowing the ugly streak in Oz xenophobia to be respectable and mainstream, obviating the need and appeal for the one issue One Nation party. Labor, to its shame, has meekly followed along.

  14. Ian Gould
    November 13th, 2007 at 09:57 | #14

    “The government’s version is more expensive in each case, but it’s hard to believe at this stage in the campaign that many voters are doing careful calculations of the hip-pocket impact of each new policy”

    One of the most potent weapons left in Howard’s rapidly dwindling arsenal is financial credibility especially when compared against Hawke and Keating.

    If Rudd offered $60 billion in new spending, Howard would be all over the media proclaiming that a Rudd government would see a return to massive budget deficits and high inflation.

  15. melanie
    November 13th, 2007 at 11:55 | #15

    My mother (a pensioner) watched the speech. “He’s spending squillions. He’ll send us bankrupt” was her verdict. I told her not to worry because he’s the one who invented the distinction between a ‘Promise’ and a ‘Core Promise’.

  16. Mr Denmore
    November 13th, 2007 at 13:04 | #16

    It never ceases to amaze me that the Coalition is judged according to different standards than Labor when it comes to economic credibility.

    The irony is that the financial markets, which are best placed to judge these things, make no distinction. Both major parties are seen as shamelessly hitting the fiscal gas pedal and in the process encouraging the RBA to step on the monetary brake harder than it otherwise do.

    But Howard is worse, because his education handouts are not means-tested.

  17. November 13th, 2007 at 14:35 | #17

    SATP thinks JQ isn’t very bright?

    Hahahahahahahahahaha…

    (Rolls on floor)

  18. November 13th, 2007 at 15:34 | #18

    That is not quite what I said Helen.

    He made a facetious remark, I made an oblique one also. Naughty of me and I felt bad as soon as I typed it.

    But what is so funny about that remark?

    He makes some interesting objective observations in here at times. At others he is a prejudiced base old goat, as snarky and as subjective and as wrong (in my eyes) as any troublesome welfare recipient outside my place with a skin full of rum & a cop on each arm.

    Come to think of it, that is probably a better description of me.

  19. November 13th, 2007 at 15:36 | #19

    Back to the topic:

    I could be wrong, but I don’t recall another election where the contenders have attempted to put up more or less the exact same policies, and continuously strive to be as alike as peas-in-a-pod.

    Rather a change from the days when opposing political parties would run on policies which were as DIFFERENT from the other as they could be.

  20. Spiros
    November 13th, 2007 at 16:52 | #20

    “I don’t recall another election where the contenders have attempted to put up more or less the exact same policies”

    Very true, for better or for worse.

  21. Spiros
    November 13th, 2007 at 16:56 | #21

    And the one policy area where there is real difference, Iraq, has barely rated a mention.

  22. jack strocchi
    November 13th, 2007 at 19:44 | #22

    Sam Says: November 12th, 2007 at 11:56 pm

    Come on Jack you don’t actually intend to argue that Rudd is similarly socially conservative as Howard? I know Rudd and any such conjecture is complete tripe. Calling Rudd socially conservative in a similar vein to Howard is like calling Howard a Liberal.

    I am going on Rudd’s public statements, not his private confidences. In public Rudd has stuck to Howard’s conservative authoritarian line on gay marriage, border protection, Aboriginal interventions, drugs, porn etc.

    If you are saying that he is presents a “constructivist” libertarian line in private then you are saying he is a dissembling politician who will betray his personal convictions political power.

    I’m shocked, shocked!

    Sam Says:

    I also think that it might be a touch rich to claim that the bloke that has presided over the Cronulla riots, dog whistle politics relating to Asians, Muslims and Africans, neglect of reconciliation between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Australians etc etc etc could possibly have had a net positive impact on inter-cultural relations in this country.

    Ahh the liberal-Left litany of shame! Count me unmoved.

    Howard’s cruel-to-be-kind civic policies have discredited the liberal-Leftists victimology narrative. “Inter-cultural relations” have never been better.

    YOu have forgotten “Asian Invasion” graffitti and the censoring of the Fitzgerald report, less than 20 years ago. If you want to get a feel for the bullet we dodged have a look at the rancid state of “inter-cultural relations” in the USA and USE.

    I daresay ethnic folk will be able to “celebrate their diversity” well enough when not at the mercy of bogus, self-appointed ethnic “community leaders”, such as Geoff Clark and Sheik Hilaly.

  23. jack strocchi
    November 13th, 2007 at 20:01 | #23

    silkworm Says: November 13th, 2007 at 12:24 am

    Jack does not respond to reason. He only responds to dog whistles from his master.

    I dont need “dog whistles”to make up my mind. My own lyin’ eyes and hard-headed science do the trick.

    I admire and support Howard’s social conservatism and cultural “corporalism”. His ethnic policy and makes for a civic polity.

    Other than that I have a standard social democratic hostility to Howard’s policies.

    I voted ALP last election. And will do so next election.

    Its people like silkworm who are the gift that keeps on giving to Howard.

    Moral posturing and intellectual imposturing.

  24. wilful
    November 13th, 2007 at 21:29 | #24

    I reckon Rudd is just as socially conservative as he is saying he is, it’s no front at all. I think he’s demonstrated that well enough. I suspect he may be a bit more reforming and adventurous economically than he is saying he is for the sake of the dumbf**k mass media that deliberately chooses to not understand macroeconomic issues.

    I would so very dearly love to read the first headline brief that Rudd, Swan, Tanner get from Treasury after the election. I can see it…

    To: PM, Treasurer, Finance Minister
    From: Economic Reality

    Purpose: To explain why you have to break all of the idiotic middle-class welfare you announced in the election campaign and inherited.

  25. November 13th, 2007 at 21:30 | #25

    I must concur Jack, Sam is the dreamer.

    “inter-ethnic” relations have rarely been better.

    Though the clout of unelected “community leaders” has taken a dive. Not before time either.

  26. jquiggin
    November 13th, 2007 at 21:32 | #26

    ‘You have forgotten “Asian Invasionâ€? graffitti ”

    I certainly haven’t forgotten Howard encouraging it.

    Your persistence in the belief that Howard is a Machiavellian multiculturalist, rather than the narrow-minded believer in the political value of coded appeals to racism that the rest of us see does you credit Jack. But, with any luck, in 12 days time we can leave this dispute to history.

  27. Spiros
    November 13th, 2007 at 22:02 | #27

    “But, with any luck, in 12 days time we can leave this dispute to history.”

    Unfortunately not.

    Even when Howard is gone, Howard-lite Kevin Andrews will still be there, as will many little Howards in the Liberal party, and in the country generally.

    The process of de-Howardification will take some time. But it is a task that must not be shirked.

  28. Ian Gould
    November 13th, 2007 at 22:42 | #28

    “I reckon Rudd is just as socially conservative as he is saying he is, it’s no front at all.”

    Like Sam I actually know Kev Rudd – I worked briefly for him in the Queensland Office of Cabinet.

    Unless he’s changed radically in the past decade, you are mistaken, wilful.

    Nor is Rudd being dishonest. He may not have made his views on the republic, reconciliation or gay rights central to his campaign but neither has he repudiated them.

  29. Ian Gould
    November 13th, 2007 at 22:44 | #29

    Oh and Jack the “illegal people smuggling trade” is not out of business.

    It continues on its merry way exploiting tourist visas and study visas as it has for decades.

  30. wilful
    November 14th, 2007 at 10:05 | #30

    Unless he’s changed radically in the past decade, you are mistaken, wilful.

    Good to hear, though I was sure I’d heard differently with regards to gay rights. And the Republic and reconciliation are mainstream conservative – the only person who doesn’t like them is about to be consigned to history.

  31. Mike
    November 14th, 2007 at 11:34 | #31

    Ian Gould – agreed.

    Organised people smuggling takes placed via authorised boat entries and plane arrivals, often using forged and/or fraudulent documentation.

  32. melanie
    November 14th, 2007 at 17:37 | #32

    It continues on its merry way exploiting tourist visas and study visas as it has for decades.

    It’s just that the people traffickers are now respectable suited (white) ‘immigration agents’ and not Indonesian fishermen. That’s why they’re not under attack any more.

    At my university alone we graduate about 2000 accountants every year and there’s STILL a shortage of accountants. I wonder how many of our graduates were just paying money to “jump the queue”. It seems that not a lot of them are working as accountants anyway.

  33. November 15th, 2007 at 08:35 | #33

    After reading this passage from the HitchHikers Guide many years ago politics now makes sense.

    Ford is talking to Arthur after a spaceship landed on Harrods:

    “”It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see…”

    “You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?”

    “No,” said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, “nothing so simple. Nothing anything like to straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people.”

    “Odd,” said Arthur, “I thought you said it was a democracy.”

    “I did,” said ford. “It is.”

    “So,” said Arthur, hoping he wasn’t sounding ridiculously obtuse, “why don’t the people get rid of the lizards?”

    “It honestly doesn’t occur to them,” said Ford. “They’ve all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they’ve voted in more or less approximates to the government they want.”

    “You mean they actually vote for the lizards?”

    “Oh yes,” said Ford with a shrug, “of course.”

    “But,” said Arthur, going for the big one again, “why?”

    “Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,” said Ford, “the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?”"

    Basically it is just a case of voting for the better lizard and drinking a lot of gin.

    Douglas Adams had a lot to say about accountants as well.

  34. Phil
    November 15th, 2007 at 16:15 | #34

    Excellent commentary.
    When do you think there will be any serious focus on the Senate battle?
    With 65 candidates putting up their hand to have a go they deserve some opportunity to share with those who want information.
    I advocate there should be a page on the AEC web site that gives each candidate 50 words to explain what is motivating them to stand.
    My bias … Let’s make election day Independents Day … remove the opportunity for the political cartels to keep abusing the Senate.
    How many current Queensland Senators can anyone name or have an idea what they believe is important?

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